It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their homes, businesses, personal belongings and worse, their lives due toe natural disasters like flooding in Louisiana. It’s despicable when scammers exploit these tragedies to appeal to your sense of generosity.

If you’re looking for ways to give, you need to be cautious of potential charity scams. Take the time to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Consider the following before you donate:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust. Make sure they have a proven track record with dealing with disasters.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to ave sprung up overnight.Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Designate the disaster. You’d want to ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than a general fund.
  • Never Click or open links or attachments in emails unless you know who sent it. Yo could infect your computer with malware.
  • Don’t assume social media is always legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate. t can take as long as 90 days for the charity to receive the funds.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state. You can contact the National Association of State Charity Officials. If they should be registered, but they’re not, rather donate through a registered charity.